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Cool Coding & Computer Science Resources for Teens

Coding is the language of the 21st century. Even if you never go on to a career in IT, electrical engineering, or computer programming, everyone needs to know the basics. And don’t just take my word for it! Hear what these famous people have to say about it:

So what can you do with coding? You can…

  1. Study space
  2. make a movie
  3. design art
  4. make education more fun
  5. design a new fashion trend
  6. improve health
  7. contribute to real science projects
  8. make your own video game
  9. teach your computer to do your homework
  10. make an app
  11. design a website
  12. operate a robot
  13. predict the weather
  14. program a song

And much more! Whether you are into sports or art, gaming or fashion, you can do so many different things with coding. So how do you learn to code? Learning to code is pretty simple, and you can master the basics within an hour.

Cool Tools to Start Learning Computer Science

by Claire Zhu

Plunging into the world of computer science as a beginner is startling but fascinating all the same. As is usually the case with all things technology, there is an enormous, steady stream of information – so many new things to learn, to see, to study. It can definitely seem a little intimidating or overwhelming at first, and you might find yourself faintly confused on where to exactly begin.

Never fear! There are tons of interesting, helpful, and FREE platforms to jump-start your learning and give you hands-on practice to further you along on your computer science journey:

1. Codecademy

Codecademy has a ton of great learning material to introduce to you the basics of coding languages, career paths, and other interesting subjects like game development and data visualization. It also includes quizzes to put your new skills to the test and unique projects related to real-life scenarios.

The courses range from beginner-friendly to intermediate levels, which is perfect for someone just starting off. It develops the necessary fundamentals to provide a sturdy foundation for more advanced and in-depth learning.

2. Khan Academy

Khan Academy is an educational platform that seems to have everything. For computer science, there are tons of videos and articles that are incredibly detailed and thorough. The interactive exercises are fun and creative, and the whimsical cartoon character guides provide some amusement to your learning.

There are introductory and advanced courses for all types of learners. The courses feature many real-world applications, such as online information storage, the Internet, and data security.

3. freeCodeCamp

freeCodeCamp has more than 7,000 tutorials that help you learn all types of coding languages and are all, as the name says, completely free! There are courses on web design with HTML and CSS, JavaScript algorithms, front-end development with Bootstrap and React, data analysis with Python, and many, many more. Each tutorial starts off with the basics, gradually progressing towards more complex topics as you develop your skills. There are also final projects included to challenge your new abilities and prove to yourself, and the world, that you are indeed coding!

4. W3Schools

W3Schools includes tutorials, references, exercises, and courses for almost every coding language there is. Each tutorial explains the languages’ features and their use and provides plenty of exercises and quizzes for practice. In addition, there are also tutorials on web development, artificial intelligence, and data storage. By the time you manage to finish a course and all the corresponding exercises, you’ll become an experienced professional at the language.

5. SoloLearn

SoloLearn is a simple and easy resource for beginners who are looking to learn the framework of a new programming language from scratch. There are courses on a variety of topics, including C# and data science, as well as a coding playground allowing more freedom for separate independent projects. Take a look at some of the codes posted by fellow learners for inspiration! SoloLearn offers a great opportunity for more practice and brushing up on your knowledge, and promises that “you’ll be writing real, functional code within minutes of starting your first course.”

6. CodePen

CodePen is an online code editor where you can create small code snippets, or “pens”, test them, and share them with a large and friendly community of developers. It’s convenient, accessible, and offers a lot of freedom to practice and experiment with the new languages you’ve learned. If you don’t know where to start, explore the “Trending” pens or take a look at some of the Challenges for that spark of inspiration. Not only is it fun and exciting, but it feels particularly empowering to put your skills to the test and produce something incredible that you couldn’t just minutes before.

7. Replit

Replit, similarly to CodePen, is a website where users can code and build apps or websites in your browser. It includes many different templates and tutorials by fellow contributors on both coding languages and building cool programs, like a clicker game or an animation. It even has collaborative features for teams of multiple users to work together on any project. It is a great resource for beginner and advanced users alike and has a welcoming community that is open to spreading their knowledge.

Starting off your coding journey is definitely more than a little bit scary, but that shouldn’t discourage you from pursuing your interest. Not only is there a huge variety of resources available to you, but there are tons of communities filled with people who have shared similar experiences and are willing to help out in any way they can. So, go out there and learn and always stay curious.

Explore careers in computer science and much more with the Career In STEM Explorer!